Global Health Hotspot
Baylor College of Medicine: Center for Globalization
Written by Nancy Frachtman
A single spark has the power to kindle a great fire, and like that spark Baylor College of Medicine; “BCM” is spreading its impact on Houston’s international community through its Center for Globalization. As it strives to advance itself as the premier Global Academic Medical Center, BCM is taking great strides to achieve successful relationships with global partners in the areas of education, clinical care, research and community outreach. It is doing this by “aligning strategic initiatives, establishing preeminent international relationships, and fostering mission-based global programs,” said Dr. Bobby Kapur, Director of BCM’s Center for Globalization.
Dr. Kapur is also assistant professor of medicine – emergency medicine and pediatrics at BCM and associate chief of emergency medicine at Ben Taub General Hospital. Dr. Kapur is originally from Houston and he received his bachelor’s degree from Rice University and medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine. He did his residency at Yale University on emergency medicine and completed a master’s of public health at Harvard School of Public Health. He also completed an international emergency medicine fellowship at Harvard Medical School and Brigham Women’s Hospital. He later returned to Houston to continue his medical career. He stated that “the unique opportunity to harness the strengths of BCM, the Texas Medical Center, and the city of Houston to improve healthcare for the people of Houston and our global neighbors is an honor and a privilege.”
The Center is located on the main BCM campus and was launched on March 7th of 2011, with a generous gift from BCM Board of Trustees member Mr. Wallace S. Wilson, in an effort to improve healthcare globally and locally. The Center serves as an umbrella for BCM’s existing international programs, as well as new global initiatives in education, research and patient care. “The Center coordinates projects with global partners and implements programs to provide healthcare that is high-quality and patient-centered for patients of all ages,” said Dr. Kapur. An example of BCM’s collaboration is its academic partnership with Max India Group, a leading provider of healthcare services focusing on patient care, research and medical education. In creating substantive and long-term relationships with other healthcare partners, BCM is strengthening ties between Houston and the cities where BCM is fostering collaborations, explained Dr. Kapur.
BCM’s Center promotes collaboration by bringing together medical and scientific professionals from other institutions to work with BCM’s faculty and students. A recent example of this collaboration was the lecture given by Dr. José Esparza, senior adviser for vaccines at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation at the inaugural Distinguished Lecture of the Center for Globalization at Baylor College of Medicine. His lecture was a discussion on “Harnessing Science to Solve Public Health Problems.” Dr. Kapur led a panel discussion on the above topic afterwards.
These collaborations engender an atmosphere of collegial cooperation in Houston, throughout Texas and the nation, and across borders. Dr. Kapur stated that “the Center for Globalization is about more than just providing global healthcare; it is about exchanging ideas in healthcare with other cultures and communities around the world,” and Houston is uniquely suited for such a Center. Houston is a diverse city with ninety-two consular offices, with an estimated 1.1 million residents in the metro area (21.4% of whom were born outside the country), and with over ninety languages being spoken here. Houston’s rich cultural diversity and international community, along with BCM’s global initiatives and the Texas Medical Center make a great partnership for medical innovations and research. Dr. Kapur stated that the “Center promotes the delivery of clinical care that is culturally sensitive and addresses the unique needs of Houston’s global population. In addition, the Center supports global research that will lead to discussions that will offer innovative treatments for patients in Houston.”
Within the last year the Center has provided five $50,000.00 research grants to BCM faculty in the areas of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Infectious Diseases, Pediatrics, and Internal Medicine. These research projects will enable the sharing of ideas and solutions between BCM and other global partners, improving healthcare in Houston and abroad. Dr. Kapur stated that currently the Center is developing a Global Scholars Fellowship program where BCM will bring together the best and brightest physicians across multiple medical disciplines to focus on the most important global healthcare issues facing us in the 21st century and search for innovative solutions. Anyone interested in becoming involved with the Center’s efforts should visit BCM’s website at www.bcm.edu.
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